If you enjoy mechanical projects and hobbies or work in the manufacturing industry, then you’ve probably come across a shop press. A shop press is a powerful, efficient, and precise tool that is mainly used to deal with various types of metalwork straightening and bending applications. So, whether you want to remove ball joints, U-joints, bushings, pulleys, or gears, you’ll need a shop press!
You must be careful though! No one wants to end up with just any product, right! Instead, make sure you’ve invested in the best 20 ton shop press there is! That way, you’ll be guaranteed that your workflow moves smoothly, efficiently, and conveniently.
With that in mind, how do you choose the best shop press? While this seems to be a straightforward task, it’s not! Especially considering the multitude of options in the market!
Lucky for you, that’s where we’d like to join in and offer you some help! In this article, we’ve done an in-depth review of various shop presses out there. Best of all, we have shortlisted seven of the best ones to help you make the right buying decision on your first attempt.
Besides, we have included an extensive guide that will help you know more about shop presses. But first, let’s check out the best 7 shop presses you can buy!
7 Best 20 Ton Shop Press Reviews
1. Black Widow BD-PRESS-20A 20 Ton Shop Press
For any standard hobbyist or mechanic looking for efficiency for their home projects, then this model from Black Widow is all they need! It’s a reliable, affordable, and compact shop press that will not take up a lot of space in your workshop.
Black Widow is one of the top 20-ton shop presses for bending, sharpening, and shaping metals, especially for a workshop with limited space. Even so, with a load of 20 tons, you can rest assured that this unit can handle home-based as well as commercial projects.
However, those are not the only things that make BD-PRESS a great option. Many reasons can make you buy this unit.
For instance, this 20-ton shop press has been designed to last long and its performance is incredible! Its H-Layout has a durable steel frame with a powder-coated paint finish. The finish protects it from rust and smudges, increasing its durability even further.
Besides, its legs are solidly built, enabling the unit to handle most projects. The quality of its washers and bolts is exceptional as well. As if that’s not enough, this shop press has 2 durable and strong blocks that withstand the unit’s hydraulic pressure. They don’t even bend when one hits the trigger!
As a pneumatic machine, this shop press features an air pump with an easy-to-use handle. However, if you don’t love doing it by hand, you can attach it to the air compressor hose.
You’ll also love how versatile this shop press is. Its ram can be adjusted from 2.75 to 10 inches, along with various height positions. Thus giving you more control over the unit. Not to forget that assembling and adjusting the machine is quite simple.
Furthermore, considering that this shop press includes a gauge, you can measure the exact pressure you’re using to smash materials.
Putting all these incredible features together, this shop press will enable you to complete various pressing jobs in no time!
- High-quality and durable construction
- Easy assembly and adjustment
- Reasonably priced
- Requires little effort to press or punch metal items
- The manual is a bit hard to understand
2. Black Widow BD-PRESS-20H 20 Ton Shop Press
Second on our list, is yet another product from Black Widow: The BD-PRESS-20H model! This piece of machinery is also ideal for completing various metalwork including bending, straightening, and punching. While this is the 2nd unit from the same manufacturer, after having a look at its features, you’ll understand why it’s a great addition to this list!
For one, this shop press is very versatile. Its ram is adjustable from 2.75 to 10 inches from the base, along with 8 different height positions. This facilitates deep pressing. Also, with its dimensions of 26.75 X 27.75”, this unit takes up small space just like the BD-PRESS-20A model!
It has a hydraulic lever and jack that enables users to determine the amount of load applied onto the metal material. Even better, you can use the included gauge to determine the exact pressure being applied. This means that you’ll be able to complete all your projects with a high level of accuracy.
Another great thing about this shop press is that it’s relatively silent when pressing on the 2 heel blocks.
As for the construction, this manual hydraulic shop press is designed to serve you for a very long time. It is made up of steel that is coated with an attractive powder finish. Besides, the machine has high-quality washers and bolts that are pleasing as well. This makes it an ideal option for modern hobbyists as well as commercial applications.
When it comes to application, this shop press is extremely easy to use and assemble. So, whether you’ve worked with this kind of equipment before or not, this is the machine you! Also, considering that this machine always provides wonderful results, it has become a very popular option in the market.
- Silent lever action
- Easy assembly
- Superior built quality
- Ideal for commercial and larger projects
- No cons
3. Performance Tool 20 Ton Commercial Shop Press
Performance Tool shop press is air-powered equipment with a gauge. This unit has some incredible features and it’s considered to be one of the most efficient shop press in the market. For that reason, it was hard to leave it from our selection.
This shop press has an overall height of 69 inches, and 19.5 inches insider the H-frame. Seeing that this is approximately 5 feet, you can easily read the gauge and access its controls. The gauge gives you more control over the machine since you can see the exact pressure you are applying.
Controlling this shop press is quite simple as well. Especially since you don’t even have to utilize your body weight while using it. Instead, there is a relief valve for operating the ram and a remote pressure cylinder. Besides, this 20-ton machine has more than enough power that you can use for various projects.
You can adjust the height of the table up and down over 9 different locations. This also adds to its convenience and makes it easy to place it under the 7.5” adjustable ram. Also, the holes on both sides allow you to adjust the size.
Regarding the build quality, this machine is super durable, unlike some questionable brands. Indeed, this unit is very stable and will last long. Besides, it’s quite heavy since it weighs about 220 lbs. For this reason, this machine rarely shakes when you apply hydraulic pressure.
The only issue with this product is that its design is a bit simple. Even so, considering the incredible features it possesses, it’s a worthy investment. Therefore, it will not disappoint you and it provides the perfect amount of hydraulic pressure.
- Remote control
- Excellent performance
- Adjustable height
- Designed to last long
- H-frame is easy to assemble and take apart
- A bit costly
4. Baileigh HSP-20A Pneumatic Shop Press
If you’re looking for a reliable, affordable, and small 20-ton pneumatic shop press, we suggest you start by looking at this Baileigh HSP-20A model. After all, Baileigh is one of the leading manufacturers of pneumatic shop press in the industry.
It’s ideal for bending or straightening metal pieces and other heavy-duty metal works. You’ll be surprised by the number of tasks you can undertake with this press machine!
It has a perfectly welded rigid 24” H-frame that allows you to apply the full 20-ton pressure effortlessly. The unit has industrial-grade elements like a standard V-block, air hydraulic jack, and pneumatic lever among others.
Its hydraulic system can generate a 20 tonnes hydraulic force and withstands extremely high internal pressure. For that reason, it has a powerful cylinder block equipped with a 7.5” cylinder stroke and a 2” diameter cylinder. Thus making it easy to bend, clamp, or press your metals significantly.
Moving the cylinder is super easy as well. You can move it both left and right, giving you more control than you get with other units. Also, you can operate this machine in 2 modes; manual mode and pneumatic mode.
It’s also worth noting that this shop press is quite heavy. This helps to keep it stable when you’re undertaking the hard jobs. So, don’t expect this machine to move during use! Apart from that, you can easily adjust the table, which has a 4 X 19” work area.
As for the design, the entire frame of this shop press, including the hydraulic system, work head, and work head mount is painted blue. However, its work table has a silver-gray color.
The machine also includes a pressure gauge that is built into its work-head mount. As such, you can easily choose the precise pressure when you’re handling delicate materials.
On the downside, this shop press is a bit expensive than most models out there. But considering its build quality and incredible features, it’s worth the money.
- Stable and heavy-duty construction
- Hand and air operated
- Provides accurate results
- Suitable for troublesome tasks
- A bit expensive
- Requires regular maintenance
5. Sunex 5720 Manual Hydraulic Shop Press
Most professional mechanics and car enthusiasts usually prefer welded frames to bolted ones because of extra strength and durability. This has machines like this Sunex shop press become very popular among users over the years. The unit is specifically designed to ensure high efficiency to solve most issues in your work yard.
One great thing about this shop press is that it has a high level of versatility. It’s the best shop press that can handle a wide range of tasks. Whether you want to work in a machine shop, auto mechanic shop, basement, or garage, you can never go wrong with this machine!
This shop press features a well-completed durable A-frame steel construction to enhance its strength and durability. As such, this unit is sturdy enough to handle various tasks without compromising its performance. More importantly, this machine is compact, making it easy to store and carry around.
Moreover, similar to any other high-quality shop press, this unit has a pressure gauge. Thus enabling you to monitor the current pressure. So, you can use this unit to undertake delicate jobs since it’s incredibly accurate. However, it’s good to note that its pressure gauge provides results to the nearest 1/1000th of an inch. Also, you can get the ideal output by adjusting it to increments of 3.5 inches.
To increase this unit’s versatility and working scope, the package comes with many attachments such as bedplates, 3 punch kits, and a bearing shield. This enables you to start removing bushing or bearing or bending plates right away.
A common problem that most press experience is the issue of excessive bending. This can end up damaging the shop press. Luckily, this Sunex Press has a welded design that enables it to withstand extreme bending.
Overall, this press is a perfect option for straightening and smashing metals. You can also use it to remove and install wheel bearing. Besides, it only takes a limited amount to get the job done and its performance is excellent!
- Prevents excessive bending
- Highly durable steel frame construction
- Includes extra attachments
- The pressure gauge is not very accurate
6. Sunex 5720AH Shop Press
When it comes to efficiency and durability, very few can compete with the 5720AH model from Sunex! This stunning shop press is also quite powerful, yet affordable. It’s will help you to bend, straighten, or even install bearing in little time.
What makes this product the best hydraulic shop press?
For one, this unit has superior resistance. It can withstand excessive bending that it might encounter when handling some difficult tasks. Another unique feature is that it has a remote control. Therefore, you’ll not have to operate it by hand, which tends to be frustrating and annoying sometimes. Also, you’ll not have to use your body weight to make the press work.
You’ll also note that this model has larger frames than most machines. The overall dimensions of the press are 11.5 by 34.5 by 67.75”. These bulk and large frames play a very significant role in increasing their overall strength. Even so, this shop press doesn’t take up too much space and it can easily fit in your home garage or workshop.
Considering that this hydraulic pressing machine is a hybrid, you can either operate its bottle jack with an air compressor or a lever. This means that you can choose the operation method that will fit your needs.
Furthermore, just like the previous Sunex model, this unit comes with various accessories. They include things like; punch kits, bearing shields as well as bed plates. For this reason, you’ll have all the accessories you need to perform different pressing operations.
In general, Sunex 5720AH is a great addition for anyone looking for a durable press that guarantees excellent results. Even better, this machine will certainly enhance your productivity.
- The convenient motor design prevents fatigue
- A wider frame increases its overall strength
- Compact and durable design
- Lacks a pressure gauge display
7. Redline 20 Ton Shop Press
Last on our list is yet another compact but powerful shop press from Redline. So, if you’re concerned about space in your workshop, this machine is a perfect option for you.
To be precise, the dimensions of this shop press is about 70 by 31 inches. Therefore. You can rest assured that it will not take up a lot of space in your workshop, since it can even fit in the corner.
That’s not even the best thing that should make you buy this press machine! Especially considering that it has tons of amazing features that every user will love.
One of those features is that this machine includes a ram cylinder that you can move from right to left. This plays a very important role in increasing its versatility. Plus you can adjust its table at 9 various height levels to increase your working scope.
As you already know, a hydraulic press requires pressure so that it can work. For Redline press, there is a convenient lever that enables you to add pressure. Alternatively, you can use an air compressor hose if you want fast pressure delivery.
Another notable feature is that this unit includes a tonnage pressure gauge. It’s located at a convenient place on top of the shop press. The gauge provides pressure readings in both metric tons and US tons, making browsing easier to add the convenience of different users.
This means that you can adjust the exact pressure and use this press for both large and small projects. Moreover, this industrial-grade heavy-duty press is perfect for auto repair, manufacturing, and general mechanical work.
With this press machine, you’ll be able to complete various many metalwork jobs with great accuracy for several years to come. This is because it has superior construction and its powder-coated finish increases its durability even further by protecting it from rust.
- Precise pressure gauge
- Moveable cylinder gauge
- Highly versatile
- Rust-resistant powder-coated finish
- Frames are relatively thin
Buyers Guide For Shop Press
Before you settle on a particular 20-ton shop press, you’ve to ensure it’s perfect for the intended application. This is because shop presses have so many components and they come in various types. As such, choosing the perfect machine for you from these top products can be a very difficult task.
To make the process simple for you, there are some important attributes you should put into consideration. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of the different types and components of shop presses. Best of all, you’ll make an informed buying decision and choose the perfect unit that matches your pressing needs.
With that in mind, here are some of the factors you should consider:
Every professional out there knows that versatility is a very important factor. This ensures that the press machine can perform various tasks efficiently. Luckily, most modern shop presses are ideal for performing a wide range of operations.
To determine whether the unit is flexible, look at whether its operations pressures, ram speeds, and tonnage settings are adjustable or not. The more adjustable its features are, the more versatile the machine is. This will also help you to reduce operating times and maximize productivity.
You also want to ensure that the shop press you’re planning to buy will last. Therefore, you must pay special attention to its built quality. For instance, you can choose a unit with durable steel construction with a coating. Such machines are more durable and they’re ideal even for heavy-duty applications. You can also consider other construction aspects like; cylinder quality, frame rigidity, bolster thickness, etc.
Tonnage simply refers to the maximum pressure amount that the shop press can exert. Although we’ve only listed 20-ton units in this article, you should know that there is a wide range of shop press tonnage systems. For instance, there are 6-tons, 10-tons 12-tons, and even 50 tons presses. So, if you’re not careful, you may end up buying a unit with a tonnage that’s not ideal for you.
The best thing about 20-tons machines is that they are some of the most shop presses out there. With that in mind, always make sure you check out the machine’s tonnage before you buy one.
Uses of 20 Ton Shop Presses
The main purpose of a shop press is to straighten bent things and bend straight things. However, those are not the only things that you can use it for. A 20-ton shop press can be used for many other applications. For instance, if you’ve got an auto shop, you’ll find it to be very useful when you’re working on wheel bearings.
Well, let’s have a look at these applications in a more detailed manner!
(a) Bending and Straightening Metals
As we said earlier, this is the most common work of press machines. To bend metals, attach the intended finger brake in the machine and press. On the other hand, if you want to straighten bent metals, you can use straightening arbor plates and wide ram.
(b) Replacing Axle Bearing
If you want to remove the axle bearing from the shaft, start by removing the collar around it with the chisel. After that, align the press ram of the bearing with the shat and pull the level. At the pressure level of about 5 tons, you’ll see the shaft loosening from the axle bearing.
(c) Bushing Replacement
Without a shop press, replacing the bushing be a very daunting task. However, with a shop press, you’ll be able to do it in no time. Just make sure you push the control arm bushing from the right side. Put the ram on the control arm’s inner side, and put the die on the outer side. Then press the ram slowly until you push the bushing out of the socket.
(d) Replacing Wheel Bearing
20-ton shop presses are also ideal for pressing wheel bearings, either in your home workshop or garage. However, you’ll need a suitable adapter. If you have it, put it in a parallel position with the bearing and press until you get the job done.
Accessories of 20 Ton Shop Presses
Over the years, the use of shop presses in different situations has undergone significant changes. This is mainly because modern shop presses come with various types of accessories, allowing you to perform many pressing tasks. Some of the most useful accessories include;
1. Punch kit
A punch kit has 2 parts and it’s used for making round cut-out on flat pieces of metal. To do that, its bottom part has to punch through the upper part.
2. Dimple Die set
Similar to the punch kit, the die set has 2 distinct parts; the upper and bottom die head. The bottom part has a concave shape, while the upper part has a convex shape. This set creates a bowl shape when used on a flat piece of metal. As such, when you place a bolt or screw-on on this plate, the head will not be protruding so much.
3. Arbor plates
An arbor plate/ table plate is a thick piece of solid steel or cast iron flat. These plates are used for various applications. Their sides have an elevated part, while the edges have a distinct cut-out. You can use arbor plates to joint 2 parts together or separate the bearing’s outer ring.
4. Press brake
A press brake is mainly used to bend metal plates. This accessory features various detachable fingertips that facilitate custom bending activity. For instance, if you intend to bend a certain metal plate at an angle of 45 degrees, this is the accessory you need.
Frequently Answer Questions
- What is a shop press?
It’s a press machine that can either be operated by pneumatic or hydraulic pressure to bend, form or stamp heavy materials as required. The pressure ratings of shop presses can range from 1 to 50 tons.
- How long does a 20-ton shop press typically last?
The durability of a shop press usually depends on its build quality and other factors. However, a high-quality press machine can last for about 15 – 20 years.
- What’s the difference between a hydraulic press and a mechanical press?
The main difference is that a mechanical shop press operates at a faster speed as compared to a hydraulic press. Therefore, with a mechanical press, you’ll be able to get the pressing task done quicker and more efficiently.
- What is the meaning of ton rating?
Ton rating measures the maximum amount of pressure that the shop press can exert on a workpiece. The shop press industry uses tonnage to measure the ton rating. In other words, a 20-ton shop press indicates that its hydraulic cylinder can apply a force equivalent to pushing down a 20-ton weight on the workpiece.
- What is the difference between air over the hydraulic press and a hydraulic press?
Simple! The air over hydraulic press generates powerful force by pushing a high air volume rapidly. Contrarily, a hydraulic press creates intense pressure by pumping mineral oil.
Having the best 20 ton shop press in your workshop will certainly change how you work. It will enable you to accomplish various metal works easily, quickly, and even improve your productivity.
Since we understand how important these tools are, we have only included the best models available in the market at the moment. Besides, all of them are highly versatile, reliable, durable, reliable, and most importantly, get the job done!
So, once you’ve identified your pressing needs, go through our selection again, and choose the perfect shop press for you.